A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

NextGen Climate Action Committee


Political leanings: Liberal

Spending target: $30 million

NextGen Climate Action Committee, a super PAC, and NextGen Climate Action, a 501(c)(4), were founded in 2013 by San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer. They currently operate under the umbrella organization known as NextGen America, an environmental advocacy organization.

In 2012, Steyer, who is reported to be worth $1.6 billion, sold the San Francisco-based hedge fund he founded in 1986 and turned to philanthropy and political action. Steyer made headlines last year for announcing he would spend $20 million on television ads calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. He has said that he intends to spend $30 million on mobilizing the youth vote for the 2018 elections.

“I’m putting $30 million behind NextGen America’s youth organizing program to unleash the full political power of young voters,” Steyer said on Jan. 8, when he announced that he would not run for public office.

NextGen America will focus on 30 House races in 10 states — Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, Steyer said.

In the 2016 election, the NextGen super PAC spent more than $96 million — much of that, $89.5 million, was contributed directly by Steyer. Of that, the super PAC spent nearly $10 million on independent expenditures — almost $3.5 million in support of seven Democratic candidates, and more than $6.3 million against six Republicans and a libertarian candidate.

NextGen Climate Action Committee spent millions on ads during the 2016 presidential campaign boosting Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, criticizing Republican nominee Donald Trump, denouncing Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, and emphasizing climate change’s impact on national security.

As of April 2018, the NextGen super PAC reported raising $16.5 million and spending $15.7 million in the 2018 campaign cycle. It had yet to spend any of its money advocating for or against any federal candidates, but the group had donated $1.5 million to For Our Future, a liberal PAC formed in 2016, and nearly $1.6 million to other liberal PACs.

NextGen Climate Action also has gotten increasingly involved in state elections. It spent nearly $1 million helping Democrat Ralph Northam win the Virginia gubernatorial race last year. It also reported having registered nearly 20,000 voters in the state before the Oct. 16 deadline.

Steyer has not shied away from using NextGen America, the umbrella group, to lobby on other issues besides climate change. NextGen America issued press releases highlighting immigration support services and criticizing the GOP tax plan as it moved through Congress.